Friday, March 20, 2020

Day One; Lockdown Larry

00.31 am Friday

Day one of Lockdown Larry. On Wednesday we went into Skelton Bob.  In 12 weeks’ time we may meet Start Up Sally.

The business will probably close its doors today.  Interestingly only because our professional indemnity policy will be pulled from under us. I am determined to pay staff,   but can’t do that indefinitely with no income at all.

It was my plan to treat the oldies up at the small practice. Alan had had a week of driving them back and forth but the first restriction on the insurance was for treatment of the over 70’s.  Miss G, 91, said to me that she used to despair when she looked at her diary and had nobody to talk to that day. Now she sees weeks of it. I gave her the ‘controlling your environment to help mental health’ chat. When he ran her home, she asked Alan into her house to see if her chairs were two metres apart, then she might be able to get a friend round.

00.40 am

I have thousands of emails to send, clinics to cancel, advice to give out and you’d think I’d be comforted that I now have a lot of time to do it all- 12 weeks- yet I’m overtaken by torpor. It is as if I cannot see the direction to move in.

Alan will be doing a short relaxation and feel good video that patients can download from our website. How to cope. Get a routine. Focus on the positive. Think of what you can achieve – one kitchen cupboard a day. Netflix is down grading its service yet BBC are increasing their repeats. The studios are closing.

We had to go to the accountant to release funds this afternoon – before Lockdown Larry came to being. The accountants were working from home, yet we had to sign papers and get them witnessed. Their office opened on Thursday for signings only. We might not need the funds to keep eating, but better to be safe as access to financial services will soon be problematic.

The army is now on the streets. My accountant smiled, she was a gun instructor (she did have a technical name for it) in the TA. ‘Hospitals,’ she said, ‘It’s the mobile army hospital heading for the park. Getting ready.’


She also said, it’s a 12 week cycle for the virus to rage and die in a population, but science has learned from the Chinese experience so it could be a lot less.

Then my Jehovah Witness friend started telling me this was the end of days and I had better convert while there was still time. I pointed out that it was all caused by carnivores like her. Us grass munchers were innocent.  She went away to think about an answer to that.


And I can’t write.  The book is stalled. Too much going on with not enough knowledge. Hamster wheels in my head. One day at a time……? It’s not easy.  Work was winding up and down by the hour, details firing in on emails and alerts. ‘You must ask phone on the phone if a patient has been to China or Italy. You can’t treat new patients. You can’t treat kids. You can’t treat folk over 6 feet tall. Don’t breathe if there is an R in the month. Every 30 minutes another directive came from somewhere. The NHS stopped their podiatry.  So all the diabetic with critical care needs called us, we took the appointment. The next day, the private podiatry insurance was pulled and we had to call them all back and cancel them.  ‘So what do I do if I need my toenails cut?’  We have no answers.


Here’s a wee story. I live in a village of 4500 people, many older. It’s that kind of place. It has one pub. Imagine a leaflet comes round from the community saying to email in if you were isolating and needed shopping brought to you.  What might have resulted from that might be naughty people knocking at doors and saying ‘Hi, we are from the community, have you got your shopping list ready? And your credit card so I can pay for it?’  Then imagine the police got wind of it and put out a warning notice. That might be then transcribed in to non-police speak to be shared on the net. Imagine somebody reposts it, and then their phone rings and it’s the community cop, asking you to check your Facebook page. The next few hours might be pretty traumatic; there might be online bullying and trolling. It might move from site to site, then to DM, like a dangerous and mutating virus.  These posts may be then liked by people that we know.  

If that happened hypothetically, to a hypothetical crime writer they might just have the savvy to photograph the pages as it later may be claimed that it never happened. And there might be a   hero of the story who tracks down each and every one of the trollers. They just might ask them to repeat it to their face at some crime writing convention in the future. I don’t think there will be many takers.

Hypothetically, the response is ‘I didn’t know it was about you.’ So the conclusion to that is it is OK to bully somebody as long as the victim remains faceless.

And then imagine, theoretically, those same people are online taking about preserving mental health in Lockdown Larry.

01.10 am

Went to opticians, seems I’m going blind in my left eye. Going back today for more tests, usually they take weeks to arrange but in lockdown Larry appointments are easy to come by¬

Hope Zoe and Leye are doing ok.  I’m guessing Central London is pretty closed by now. The middle of Glasgow might follow suit. We can still go out to walk the dog. Scotland has very few densely populated areas.

On the bad side, the police were called to the local supermarket because of fights over toilet rolls.

On the funny side I heard a man try to swap his wife for the last bottle of vodka.

I have no idea what the next few days or weeks will bring. But I really want to thank the support I got from the MIE community.

It’s been a bastard.

I think it will be a bastard for a while.

Caro Ramsay


  1. Hi Caro
    Every best wish from the south where we're behind (as usual), but not far behind. There are two cases just down the road from me - the only two currently confirmed cases along this coast. TG for technology so that we can at least keep in touch and talk.
    Thinking about you and Jeff and Leye and Zoe and Susan and Patricia and Cara and Sujata and Kwei...
    Stay well.

    1. I think we are happier that Boris has got a grip. His financial package means that it's not my responsibility to keep the staff going so we can all breath a little more calmly.

  2. I am so thankful I don't have staff and patients to think about. Or about being laid off. Or how I'm going to find something to eat. Love and hugs from Cape Town in this miserable time.

    1. The information is slow to come out, and mechanisms are not in place yet but we are due to get 80% of our income across the board. As self employed that's based on the last tax year so it's very fair ( if it actually happens). Business closes tomorrow, socially irresponsible to keep going and patients do see that. I'm sending Cathy Ace's virtual tour links to the older patients that live on their own. The otter web cam is a favourite.

  3. Truly we "live in interesting times." I'm ever thankful that I took up wine-making 10 years ago. At least I won't care when I don't have anything with which to wipe my butt...

    1. My Dad used to make wine- nettles, old fruit, dead haggis, socks. He made banana wine once and it congealed in a huge brain type mass at the bottom of the flagon. It was a Stephen King moment.

  4. Someone texted today to ask how I was. I replied: "Working from home, isolated, no visitors day in, day out, only the mogs to talk to... Same as usual, then!"

    1. 'mogs'??? Men of God? Sorry, I'm horribly not an Anglophile, if this is Anglo-specific, and if it's an acronym, I'm all out of letter. Not to mention out of sorts. Nonetheless, I'm happy to hear that you're the same whip-snapping, razor-sharp-tongued delightful diva as usual.

    2. felines, EvKa.
      I don't think I could hope with the other alternative
      and they wouldn't even have to be 'of God'

    3. Cats, Evka, you must have heard the song from the musical….'Felines, nothing more than Felines… trying to...' etc etc

  5. I must be losing my mind. I could have sworn I posted a comment, Caro, right after you posted. I just came back to reread it and found no comment. SO, let me repeat--if only in my mind--I do so admire you in more ways than I can count. Okay, add Alan in on that. You are ALWAYS there for those who need you. ALWAYS. But I admire you for another reason: how you endure baseless slings and arrows with grace, charm and -- most of all--biting humor. As the adage goes... GO GIRL.

  6. Hey Caro elbow bumping you from our state of sheltering of place ! Thank you for talking about TORPOR. I’ve got so much to write, things on the burner and yet I’ve too felt immobile. I’m trying to stay off social media to give my head some space. Best of luck working out all that bureaucracy & do Murder them in your next book! Xxx Cara

  7. Cara, on the sensible side of social media, those writers who are a little further in say the first week is panicky stillness, all the energy in the wrong place, coffee and chocolate. But week two is salad, indoor yoga and creativity!

  8. I live alone and am enormously grateful that "left to my own devices" means I can stay in touch with people. In the past 24 hours, I talked to people in the US, in Italy, in Japan, and in Kenya. I am, so far, not feeling desperate at all. In fact, when the clock strikes five pm each day, I wonder where the day went. I attribute this to one special thing about me. I gave up watching the news on TV during the Viet Nam War. Stop watching the news. That's my prayer for you.